Vibram Fivefingers Bikila Magenta Orange
WHAT MADE ME CONSIDER:
My boyfriend got a pair of treksports last summer and never wore anything else except his work boots while at work. He then got a pair of komodo sports for the winter and never wears anything else except his work boots when he goes to work. He is used to going barefoot and swears that vibrams are the closest one can get to being barefoot without removing one's shoes and socks. For the last year, he has talked incessantly about how comfortable the shoes are with people who stop him to inquire about and touch his shoes. I really want to get back into running, an activity in which I've never done well but have enjoyed. The problem is my current shoes are too hot and heavy for the South, even in winter (it's been 60-70 degrees all week). I really wanted a light weight running shoe. After seeing how pleased my boyfriend was (and is) with his vibrams and hearing how they are supposed to be better for feet and posture, I just couldn't resist trying them on.
When trying on bikilas in a store, I was certain they wouldn't fit my toes. I thought only "pretty" feet like those of my boyfriend could fit into the toes. I tried on the treksports and the pinky toe did not fit quite right. I tried on a larger pair and those were just over-sized enough to annoy. I tried my correct size of the bikilas and they fit perfectly! Like any other type of clothing, if you don't like how one type fits, try another.
They were, as many have stated, difficult to get on at first, but they do stretch enough over time to make slipping them on easy. I recall making fun of my boyfriend for taking so long just to put his shoes on while waiting to go out to dinner, but those jokes are a thing of the distant past and he puts them on at least as quickly as he would more conventional shoes.
I bought the shoes and started wearing them the next day so I could break them in for running. I was going to use them solely for running, but I ran into an immediate issue: I wanted to wear them every day! The problem I am having is that they get more comfortable as I wear them. I am looking into getting another pair so I can have a pair for everyday shoes and a pair for running. I have not run in them yet, as the weather has been unaccommodating. Since I am basically back to being a beginner runner, I'm not sure that I will have to adjust as much as "real" runners, who have reported needing to alter on their running until getting used to the shoes. Time will tell.
I live in a wet, windy area and these shoes offer little insulation. I have not tried them with socks, but probably will, especially when the weather gets cold. They do rub somewhat on the back of the heel, but I have experienced no blistering in the 3 days I've been wearing them. It's barely noticeable and I think it's a matter of breaking them in to alleviate this. My only concern is keeping out debris. I haven't found any reviews mentioning this, but I wonder if small particles like sand pass through the shoe. I would like to try trail running in these and I can see this being very annoying. I've had shoes that collected sand easily and quickly and it isn't pleasant. My boyfriend does say small rocks get caught between the toes occasionally. I do wish bikilas came in solid black or something so they would be less noticeable and attract less attention. So far, the tan/green has been enough of a traditional running shoe color that only 1 person has noticed them (or said anything, rather). I don't dislike how these shoes look, but they are odd looking. Hopefully they will become popular enough to become accepted as normal shoes, but not enough to ruin the brand.